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An Introduction to Elvish, Other Tongues, Proper Names and Writing Systems of the Third Age of the Western Lands of Middle-Earth as Set Forth in the Published Writings of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien Paperback – November 24, 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bran's Head Books Ltd (November 24, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0905220102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0905220109
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

253 of 262 people found the following review helpful By Helge K. Fauskanger on May 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
I don't really know how many stars to give this book. When it was originally published, it would have deserved four or five stars. Now, to be frank, it only deserves one star if you are interested in Tolkien's languages as such. Well, let's make it two stars, shall we?
When this book appeared in the late seventies, it was about as good as it could be. The authors were competent and tried to analyze the entire available corpus. However, TONS of new material about Tolkien's languages would be published in the eighties and the nineties. Why, this book even predates the Silmarillion!
The real revolution in Tolkienian linguistics occurred in 1987, about a decade after _Introduction_ was published. Then Christopher Tolkien published the all-important source document "The Etymologies", his late father's main listing of Elvish vocabulary, in the History of Middle-earth book _The Lost Road_. Almost every analysis of Tolkien's languages predating this publication was rendered instantly obsolete.However good and plausible the theories set out in _Introduction_ were when this book first appeared, almost everything has now been obsoleted. Even in the cases where the theories actually turned out to be correct, a present-day student would want to know that this info is indeed "Tolkien fact" and not post-Tolkien speculation. At least 80 % of what we now know about Tolkien's invented languages was quite unknown when _Introduction_ was written and published. I maintain a Tolkien-linguistic web-site, Ardalambion, attempting to present more up-to-date analyses. But even now, very much of Tolkien's linguistic material remains unpublished, and it will probably be decades before all the sources are available and any "definite" presentation of Tolkien's languages can be attempted.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
Not for the general reader, this is a collection of essays written by American linguists on the languages of Middle-earth and their history, as can be deuced from TLOTR. It's often degree-level stuff and will go right over the head of anyone without a keen interest in philology. Although it's truly astounding how much detail is uncovered and the standard of scholarship is always rigorous (even despite the odd nutter insisting that TLOTR is actual, literal history), it predates the Silmarillion and all the subsequent books so an update or a new work is desperately needed. Anyone?
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
this text is very interesting. it covers the linguistics of the languages of tolkien very well, and is trade-paper published. i like it a lot. however, as the other reviewer pointed out, it predates silmarillion and needs to be updated drastically.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By H. Grace on May 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Good scholarship is not "obsoleted" by the passage of time, Mr. Fauskanger...

Although Jim Allen et al's 'An Introduction to Elvish' was written before the publication of 'The Silmarillion' and the important 'History of Middle Earth' series it nevertheless remains the most reliable book yet published on Tolkien's invented languages. Further -- unlike Fauskanger's 'Ardalambion' website and Salo's 'A Gateway to Sindarin' -- Jim Allen and his coauthors carefully cite their sources, distinguishing at all times between Tolkien's work and their own necessarily speculative reconstructions. This continues to distinguish it from much else that is written about Tolkien's languages online.

Still a must-have for anyone interested in Tolkien's linguistic creations.
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